As the leader of his own home-based ministry, Paisley Yankolovich is a mentor to the oppressed, the freaks, the weirdos and even quite a few normal people, never missing an opportunity to tell someone they're loved for who they are. But Paisley is also an accomplished singer, his records a mesh of glam rock, show tunes and disco, his shows mixed with cross-dressing, spoken word, music, theater and preaching. His lyrics cover everything from AIDS to abusive parenting to suicide to a strained relationship with mainstream churches that value dollar signs over compassion.
Embracing both his queer identity and outspoken love for Christ (somewhat akin to The Rocky Horror Jesus Show, as others have noted) Paisley's music is preceded by his Christian message, but it can still appeal to the unchurched masses. How? It's truly the essence of Christ's decree of unconditional love--none of the convoluted anti-gay, anti-drug, anti-rock and roll bullshit that Jesus never even spoke about that somehow hijacked mainstream religion and turned into a charade of hate. Paisley is here to remind you of your value and he'll do it by being himself. Which is, of course, fabulous.
The Kitchen, as Yankolovich's ministry is known, meets every Wednesday and Sunday evening at 3206 W. Lamar Rd. in Phoenix. There's free food at 6 p.m., plus one of Paisley's signature performances. Furthermore, all his music, spanning nearly a decade of releases, is available for free download on his website, therealpaisley.com. His next show is Saturday, October 12th at the Arizona State Fair at 5 p.m. We sat down and spoke to Paisley about his unique relationship with Christian spirituality, being "of this world" and what his latest album, Typhoid Mary, is all about.